Yeo sticking with Bryzgalov: 'This is the guy for us'

Yeo sticking with Bryzgalov: 'This is the guy for us'
May 5, 2014, 12:15 pm
Nina Falcone

Down 2-0, the Minnesota Wild found themselves in a familiar situation following their 4-1 loss in Game 2 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The players inside the United Center's visiting locker room weren't happy with a number of aspects of their game on Sunday afternoon. They have things they want to talk about and work on prior to Games 3 and 4 in Minnesota; there are things they believe need to change.

But despite the losses, their confidence in netminder Ilya Bryzgalov hasn't faltered.

"We're not going to sit around waiting for another option," coach Mike Yeo said. "This is the guy."

[MORE: Blackhawks' defense not making things easy for Wild]

At this point, the Wild aren't left with many other options.

Starter Niklas Backstrom has been shut down since March. Josh Harding continues to battle multiple sclerosis. Darcy Kuemper went down in Game 7 against the Colorado Avalanche with an undisclosed injury — likely a concussion — and didn't even make the trip to Chicago.

"So let's quit even talking about it right now," Yeo said. "We shouldn't even be talking about who's backing up. This is the guy for us right now."

Yeo has been keeping Kuemper's status very quiet — he wouldn't say whether or not Kuemper could return at any point in the series against the Blackhawks. The chances of Harding taking the ice this series are "a long shot."

Despite the back-to-back losses, Bryzgalov said his confidence is "pretty good." He has had his share of good saves, including a stop on a Marian Hossa breakaway in the first period of Game 2. But Jonathan Toews was waiting on the doorstep, caught the rebound and buried it.

"They have chances and we have chances; and they got some lucky bounces and we don't," Bryzgalov said. "It's tough to say. Sometimes it's a game, score on a lucky bounce and the game goes in a different direction right away. They score a goal on lucky bounce."

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In order to make this a true series against the Blackhawks, the Wild will have to improve their game on both ends of the ice. They're in a tough situation with three goaltenders down, but they've been down this road before and have dealt with it in the past.

Now as they look ahead, the Wild will look to improve as a group. That pressure is not solely on Bryzgalov.

"We have to find a way as a team, not just one guy," Yeo said. "It’s on (Bryzgalov), for sure, but it’s on our group too. It’s on our staff. It's everybody to find a way to get a win."